Carissa Sherer Appointed Board Member
The Mennonite Children’s Choir of Lancaster has appointed Carissa Sherer to its Advisory Board. Sherer sang in MCCL for five years, and MCCL is delighted to welcome her back to MCCL in a new role. Her passion for excellent choral singing, coupled with her experience as an MCCL singer, uniquely prepares her to serve on the board. Sherer said, “I’m looking forward to joining the board so I can give back to an organization that gave so much to me—including friendships, choral education, and the value of self-discipline—throughout my high school years.”
Following high school, Sherer served with Eastern Mennonite Missions in India on two different occasions and attended Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), where she sang in choir for four years. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from EMU. Currently, she works as a NICU nurse at Women and Babies Hospital. Carissa attends Willow Street Mennonite Church, where she participates on the worship team and enjoys helping in the nursery. In her free time, she enjoys reading, singing, playing violin, and traveling.
Douglas Garrett Appointed Board Member
The Mennonite Children’s Choir of Lancaster has appointed Douglas Garrett to its Advisory Board. MCCL is grateful for the financial expertise, wisdom, and passion for community singing that Garrett will bring to the board. A choral singer himself, Garrett noted that he is grateful to serve on the MCCL Advisory board because “This is a wonderful program that impacts youths’ lives by teaching musical skills, building personal confidence, and supporting spiritual development.”
Garrett holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Health Administration, all from Penn State University. Previously, Garrett served as the Chief Financial Officer for Londonderry Village in Palmyra, PA for 18 years and as the Business Office Manager for Foxdale Village in State College, PA for 10 years. A resident of Landis Homes Communities, he currently volunteers with the School District of Lancaster’s tutoring program, with Landis Homes’ audio-visual team, and as the Minister of Stewardship at his home congregation, Millport Mennonite Church. In his free time, he enjoys choral singing, bicycling, reading, and volunteering.
Seth Hake Appointed Board Member
The Mennonite Children’s Choir of Lancaster has appointed Seth Hake to its Advisory Board. Hake sang in MCCL for ten years and will provide strong support for connecting with MCCL alumni, as well as insight into how MCCL can continue to serve current singers with excellence. He is eager to serve MCCL in this capacity because “having been in the choir, I’ve seen firsthand the profound impact MCCL can have on those within and those just listening. I’m very happy to be a part of something that puts so much good into the world.” A highlight of his time as a singer was traveling to Indonesia in 2018 to share music with the church there. “I saw for the first time a culture entirely different from the one I grew up in. Despite the differences, it was humbling to know that we were still one people, still united in our faith.”
Currently, Hake works at Manpower, Inc. In his free time, he enjoys movies and working on cars. Seth is an active member of St. Edward’s Episcopal Church in Landisville, PA where he sings in the church choir.
Elisa Chodan Becomes Choristers Director and Assistant to Carol and Concert choirs
Chodan joined MCCL as an assistant for the 2020-2021 choir year and is delighted to become the new Choristers director and Carol and Concert choirs rehearsal assistant as of July 1, 2021. She is the music director at Veritas Academy and directs the women’s chorus at Lancaster Bible College. Chodan was a 2019-20 VOCES8 US Scholar and two-times summer intern with VOCES8 in Europe.
She shared that “working for MCCL has been a source of absolute refreshment and rest. Though the students and staff are constantly striving toward musical excellence, it is clear that cultivating a loving community is of utmost importance to this group. I’m thrilled to have a small part in this beautiful organization!” MCCL is grateful for the expertise and nurture Ms. Chodan will provide to each class and rehearsal.
Jeffrey Martin joins MCCL as Interim Men’s Ensemble Director
Baritone Jeffrey Martin holds a Master’s degree from Peabody Conservatory of The John’s Hopkins University. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota.
Martin has performed solo roles in choral masterworks and operas such as Mozart’s “Great” Mass in C Minor, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, and Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah. Upcoming performances include the title role in Elijah (Mendelssohn) with the Lancaster Chorale.
Martin serves as Director of Vocal Studies in the Music, Worship, and Performing Arts Department at Lancaster Bible College and is excited to join MCCL because “it is a great honor to share the joy of making music with the next generation to worship our God!” When he isn’t teaching or performing, Martin enjoys spending his time with his wife and two young children. MCCL looks forward to the strong vocal experience Mr. Martin will bring to the Men’s Ensemble.
Stauffer Returns as MCCL’s Interim Chamber Choir Accompanist
Lindsey Stauffer is a music educator living in East Petersburg, PA. She studied music education at Millersville University and completed her master’s degree in choral conducting from West Chester University. Currently, Stauffer teaches choir, elementary strings, and general music at Dayspring Christian Academy and maintains a small private piano studio. She has assisted with MCCL in several music staff roles, including rehearsal assistant, substitute accompanist, and tour accompanist.
Lindsey said, “I admire the excellent work MCCL is doing in training choral musicians and fostering community. It’s been a true pleasure to collaborate with Mrs. Blessing and Chamber Choir as an accompanist this semester and to see the kindness and dedication each person brings to every rehearsal!” MCCL is thrilled to have Ms. Stauffer return in this interim capacity.
Keener Fills Role of Prelude Music Assistant / Accompanist
Jonathan Keener holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Eastern Mennonite University and a doctorate in music performance and pedagogy from James Madison University. He has taught piano through Eastern Mennonite University Music Preparatory Program, and taught music theory, class piano, and music appreciation at James Madison University, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Ivy Tech Community College. Most recently, Jonathan taught piano and music theory at a school in China to elementary and middle school students.
Jonathan brings incredible skills and passion for excellent music; MCCL is grateful to have him fill the role of Prelude Music Accompanist/Assistant this fall. Jonathan sang in MCCL when he was in middle school. He currently attends Chinese Bible Church of Lancaster with his wife and three children. Jonathan said, “I’m looking forward to serving in this role because I love seeing children discover new things, especially about music!”